Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis by Catrine Clay

Carl Jung (1875 to 1961, born and died in Switzerland) was a pioneer in the field of psychoanalysis. He developed the concepts of the collective unconscious, archetypes, introversion and extroversion, and the complex.

Emma Rauschenbach Jung (1892 to 1955, born and died in Switzerland was from a very wealthy family.  She assisted her husband in his work.

Labyrinths Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl and the Early Years of Pschoanalysis by Catrine Clay is a book that anyone interested in the theories of C. G. - Carl - Jung and the history of psychoanalysis will enjoy.  His wife Emma came from a very rich Swiss family,  Jung was from a working class background, supporting himself working long hours in an mental hospital when he married Emma.  She became heavily involved in his work, helping him write patient reports.  They lived, as was customary in the hospital.  Jung began his word association  examinations to delve into the psyche of his patients.  Jung was a very handsome and charismatic doctor and female patients fell in love with him.  Clay is not real explicit but it seems Jung probably violated 21th century rules on patient contact.  This caused friction in his marriage.  It was interesting to learn about life and work in the mental hospital.

When a woman married, control of her money went to her husband.  Jung relished the life style Emma's money provided. We learn a lot about the social customs of the period.  Clay also tells us a lot about Jung's relationship with Sigmund Freud. 

Emma despised the infidelities of Jung but she endured them.  We follow them on their trips to America and all over Europe as Jung's fame grows.

Clay explicates some of Jung's theories on the collective unconscious, archetypes and touches on his relationship to Nazism.  Jung was in no way a supporter of the Nazis but his theories could be used to suggest the ethos of the Germans gave rise from racial archetypes to a Furher figure.  

This is a well written book. It should be read as advertised,  as a story of a marriage.  

Years ago I read Clay's King, Kaiser, and Czar, about three cousin who were the regal heads of Europe when World War One began, a good work of popular history. 

Official bio

Catrine Clay has worked for the BBC for over twenty years, directing and producing award-winning television documentaries. She won the International Documentary Award, the Golden Spire for Best History Documentary, and was nominated for a BAFTA. She is the author of King Kaiser Tsar and Trautmann’s Journey, which won the Best Sports Biography of the Year, and was runner-up in the William Hill Sports Book Prize. She is married with three children, and lives in London.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in Jung, the history of psychoanalysis and anyone  wants to learn about the wife behind the famous man.  It can also be read as a social history of married life in the period. 

I was given a review copy of this book.

Mel u


Kathleen Jones said...

Sounds quite interesting. I didn't know much about Jung's wife, so I might put it on my reading list. I've just read the biography of Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters that you recommended and enjoyed it very much!

AmberCat said...

The book is rife with abject nonsense. Here are some facts:

A marriage is more likely to succeed if the woman follows her own star and remains conscious of her wholeness than if she constantly concerns herself with her husband's star and his wholeness. ~ Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 51.

I shall always be grateful to Toni for doing for my husband what I or anyone else could not have done at a most critical time." Laurens Van Der Post Jung: The Story of our Time; Page 177.

Then after a pause, Miss Wolff added this: "You know, sometimes if a man's wife is big enough to leap over the hurdle of self-pity, she may find that her supposed rival has even helped her marriage! This 'other woman' can sometimes help a man live out certain aspects of himself that his wife either can't fulfill, or else doesn't especially want to. As a result, some of the wife's energies are now freed for her own creative interests and development, often with the result that the marriage not only survives, but emerges even stronger than before!" ~Toni Wolff, C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff - A Collection of Remembrances, Pages 47-51

It might be said of her [Toni Wolff] that she was "Virgin" as defined for us by Esther Harding , meaning simply an unmarried woman who, since she belonged to no man, belonged to herself and to God in a special way.~ Sallie Nichols, ~C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff - A Collection of Remembrances, Pages 47-51.